No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rock the Vote

It's election day here in Ontario.

Seems to me the result was a bygone conclusion after John Tory not only stepped in it over funding for religious schools but then steadfastly refused to wipe off his shoes and move on. When people are joking that the Taliban would support your education platform, things aren't going well. So the Tories (Torys?) did what all good conservatives do - they turned to explaining all the reasons that we shouldn't vote for the Liberals.

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of reasons to not vote for Dalton McGuinty - but I do wonder if anyone has ever really won a campaign based on arguing that the other guy is worse rather than on giving the folks something to vote for. Well, maybe Stephen Harper. Maybe. But then John Tory is no Stephen Harper.

The big news this year is that we have two ballots to tick. The first, as usual, will elect our local MPP. The second will decide whether we will institute sweeping electoral reform.

You'd think it'd be bigger news. But ask a few folks on the sidewalk about the referendum and I'm guessing the response would be something like "Of course I want Ontario to stay a part of Canada." I jest. Ontarians would totally vote to separate. What I seriously doubt they would vote for, even if they knew what it was, is MMP.

MMP, for those of you still desperately trying to figure it out, is Mixed-Member Proportional representation. What it means is that every election year, you would vote twice. Once for a person in your riding - the Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green or whatever candidate. Instead of electing 107 of these MPPs, we'd be redistributed to elect just 90. Then we get to the second vote. After you have voted for a candidate, you'd vote for a party. Some 39 legislature seats would be assigned on the basis of this second vote. Any party that got at least 3% of the vote would be assigned a percentage of the 39 seats based on the percentage of the population that voted for them. Clear enough?

Basically, each party would run a candidate in each riding, just like before except there are fewer ridings (so each community actually has less of voice). Each party would also compile a list of members who would be assigned one of the 39 'at large' seats for that party. These members would have no riding - just a party affiliation. Kind of like senators - and we all know how wonderfully democratic the senate selection process is.

Theoretically, smaller parties like the Greens would benefit, because they currently garner a percentage of votes too small to actually elect a member to the legislature. The argument that the best way to address this would be for parties to run electable candidates and present platforms that resonate with a majority of citizens is apparently outmoded. Instead of a democratic election, we'd be adopting a governmental version of everyone-gets-a-prize day. Those 39 at large members would be like the kids who got 'participant' ribbons back in elementary school.

Maybe it's cruel, but I say if you can't do the chins ups, you don't get a ribbon. If you can't actually get people to vote for you, maybe government isn't the place for you.


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